Letter to the editor 2, Dec. 3, 2015
I am both happy and sad with the results of the registry related to the borrowing by-law for the construction of a new town hall which will include community facilities.
I am happy for the physically handicapped who will be able to access the new building. I am happy for the many non-profit organizations which will be able to use the new community facilities and storage areas for free. The residents will now have access to many town services in one location. I am happy for the employees that have been working in a building that no longer meets the Quebec Construction Code. I look forward to the day that we will no longer spend $200,000 per year for rental of a property that does not belong to the town. As I’ve said in the past, I’d rather pay a mortgage than pay a rent. And lastly, we will move out of those temporary (10 years is not very temporary) mobile trailers that we are using behind the actual Town Hall.
What I’m sad about is that despite our Town Council’s attempt to be as transparent as possible, many rumours and disinformation were circulated. We went above and beyond what was required by the law. We advertised our two-hour information session in both the French and English newspapers. In the last month, detailed explanations appeared in newspaper articles on our plans and why. We posted the information and the entire presentation on our website at http://www.ville.saint-lazare.qc.ca/sessionsdinformation. We informed our over 3000 subscribers via our infoletter. We posted the information on our Facebook page and our Twitter account. Sadly despite all this, much disinformation circulated throughout the population. I think that it is important to reiterate to the population the facts of the project and also take the time to squash the rumours and disinformation that have been used to lobby against the project. I will even propose to council that we hold a second information session to do exactly that.
A few clarifications about the disinformation that was perpetuated by some naysayers:
A loan by-law by its nature (and by law as well) is the worst case scenario. Many of the projects realized by the town in the last three years have been finalized under the amount of the projected loan by-law after we open the public tenders and finalize the project.
The project is estimated at $10,369,000 as stated in the presentation, not an amount of $22 million that has been rumoured by those with political aspirations.
It is not only inaccurate, but also a terrible lie, to say that the Town has paid off the church in exchange for a parking agreement and use of their portion of the parking area. That would be considered as a bribe which, by the way, is illegal.
Rumors were circulating that the existing building can be fixed at a lesser cost! No, it can’t. Reports done in the past by an independent consulting firm clearly state that any scenario involving renovation, transformation or expansion is not an option.
The community facilities at the new Town Hall are an added service, and not a replacement, to our present community center which is continuously overbooked.
Regarding the rumour stating that it was difficult to sign the registry and that the town did that on purpose, I remind you that the registry regulations are determined by the Loi sur les élections et les référendums dans les municipalités (Elections Quebec) and that the municipality cannot change those rules.
In the last three years, we have prioritized the water, public security, fire hall, the public works building, the parks, the conservation areas and the roads. The New Town Hall is the next and the last natural progression to rectify the Town’s infrastructures.
Most people reading this know that I have an open door policy at town hall and everyone is welcome to come and talk to me. I meet citizens regularly and exchange ideas and get feedback from the community. Take the opportunity to come and see me, and I will be more than happy to discuss the town hall file with you. I would also be happy to give you a tour of the present town hall to help you understand more clearly the current situation.
A proud citizen and Mayor of Saint Lazare